Klauck Hans-Josef ,
Gemeinde und Gesellschaft im frühen Christentum,
Antonianum, 76/2 (2001) p. 225-246
Summary: The article first discusses some second‑century pagan testimonies related to early Christian communities (Lucian, Pliny, Celsus, Apuleius), which sound very unfavorable, but prove rather instructive when read critically, and contrasts them with a perspective from within, represented by the Letter to Diognetus. Then it moves to a description of the self‑understanding and the concept of identity of the early Christians as expressed by the self‑designations as “people of God” and ekklésia. Special emphasis is given to the components of a democratic structure and to the analogy of ancient voluntary associations. As New Testament models, Paul’s and John’s, the author’s of Revelation, views on the ambiguous relationship between church and society are considered. The article closes with reflections on the importance of “asking for the origins”.